3JD08399 ParkingEye v Ms X. (Altrincham 17/03/2014). Fistral Beach. The defendant spent 31 minutes waiting for a car park space during the crowded holiday season. The ANPR evidence was therefore not relevant as it showed the time in the car park, not the time parked. The judge ruled this was not against the terms and conditions of the signage. The judge also stated that in any case £100 was not likely to be a true pre-estimate of loss.
In an important case, the judge ruled that the 31 minutes the defendant spent driving round the crowded car park in Whit week did not classify as 'parking'. The ANPR evidence only showed the time of entry and exit to the car park, and not the true time parked. The signage only required payment for times parked, and therefore there was no contravention of the terms and conditions.
In any case, the judge thought he would probably be minded to rule that £100 was not a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, this point did not need in-depth examination.
This occurred at Fistral Beach, which often experiences crowding, but this ruling is also relevant for motorists stuck in a queue trying to leave a car park, as often happens at Christmas, or when nearby sporting events are on.
ParkingEye lost the chance to suck money from this motorist, who was extremely nervous about going to court, when they failed to drop the price during mediation. The motorist would have settled for ParkingEye's known settlement figure of £50, but for some reason ParkingEye did not offer that figure on the day.
During mediation, the motorist started at £3.50 and ParkingEye at £171. ParkingEye dropped to £100 and the motorist went up to £15 but the mediator cut the session short at that time. The mediator was reported as not being that impartial. Neither mediator nor ParkingEye appeared interested in the legal issues involved, and were more excited about the number of letters had written and the number of signs in the car park. When the defendant mentioned the contract, ParkingEye made heavy reliance on clause 126.96.36.199, which was redacted on the defendant's copy and also the copy eventually sent to the judge.
ParkingEye sent two signage plans into court, both of which were incorrect. Several signs were placed outside in the car park, in the dunes. Signage warned holidaymakers against venturing into the dunes because of snakes. ParkingEye were indignant the the defendant was more worried about getting bitten by snakes than they were about finding the car park terms and conditions.
All credit must go to this motorist for sticking to her guns and going to court even though she did not want to.
The Parking Prankster